An Arizona family who enjoyed the outdoors decided to head to the northern part of Arizona to ring in the new year together. Sadly, they were found dead on New Year’s Day.
According to Fox 10, the Capitanos, Anthony, 32, his wife Megan, 32 and their two children, Lincoln, 4, and Kingsley, 3, went on a trip from their town near Phoenix to a friend’s cabin in Parks, AZ, which is located about an hour from the Grand Canyon.
When a friend reached out to the family and hadn’t heard from them days later, they called the sheriff’s office to request a welfare check.
When deputies entered the cabin, they were met with a strong odor of gas. Then they found the family dead inside.
Investigators brought in a licensed heating and cooling specialist to inspect the cabin’s heating system. The specialist found that there was a major issue with it and that it was consistent with carbon monoxide filling the cabin.
Investigators suspect that the family died Saturday morning, although officials at the Medical Examiner’s Office have yet to release an official report.
As AZFamily reports, Daniel Valenzuela from the Glendale Fire Department said that Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning is dubbed “the silent killer” because it cannot be detected by sight, smell, or taste.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that more than 400 people in the U.S. die each year from CO poisoning. More than 4,000 people are hospitalized and more than 20,000 people go to the emergency room.
The CDC website explained that there are many hidden sources of CO:
CO is found in fumes produced any time you burn fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, or furnaces. CO can build up indoors and poison people and animals who breathe it.
According to the CDC, inhaling a significant amount of CO can cause one to pass out or die. People who are sleeping or intoxicated may die from CO poisoning before they experience any symptoms.
Some common CO poisoning symptoms include:
Headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. CO symptoms are often described as “flu-like.”
Anyone is at risk for CO poisoning, although babies, the elderly, those with chronic heart disease, anemia, or issues breathing are more susceptible.
One easy way people can keep their families safe from CO poisoning in their homes is by installing a CO detector. The detector should have a digital screen and an alarm. The CDC recommends checking or replacing the battery every fall and spring and replace the detector every five years.
Gas appliances, such as water heaters, should be checked for the correct vents. Chimneys should be inspected and cleaned on a yearly basis; they can clog, causing CO to build up. It is also important to have a qualified technician inspect the water heater, gas, oil, or coal burning appliances each year. This includes heating systems.
Sadly, the heating system at the cabin where the Capitanos were staying malfunctioned — with devastating consequences.
KNXV reports that Daniel Matock, a family friend, was heartbroken by the tragic loss.
“God’s got a plan, and it’s just hard to see this part of his plan … The hardest part is I want to be angry at something, and there’s just nothing to be angry at. It’s one of those hopeless situations that just is.”
The Capitanos are survived by the couple’s older son. You can watch the Fox 10 report below.